Helen Mirren, Winner of "The Body of the Year," Serves as Good Role Model for Older Women

Dorian Martin Health Guide
  • Well, well, well! Maybe the age barrier against women is starting to crack. Of note, USA Today reported that a new poll to determine "The Body of the Year" conducted by L.A. Fitness put Dame Helen Mirren, age 66, at the top with 17.65 percent of the responses by more than 2,000 people. Second place went to supermodel Elle MacPherson, who at the age of 48 received 10.6 percent of the vote. And Pippa Middleton, whose physique caused a stir during the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, only placed eighth with four percent of the votes.

    That news reinforces the concept that perimenopausal and menopausal women can retain their fitness level as well as their attractiveness. According to That’sFit.com, Mirren previously attributed her physique to a “good constitution” as well as regularly walking her canines.  She also has started endorsing Wii Fit, saying that it has helped her fitness. “The Wii is fun, and it's infinitely varied. You can hula, jog, yoga, step, all in one session. You need never get bored as every day you can tailor a new workout. It challenges you, and you do it at home, so nobody need see you in those old yoga pants and torn t-shirt. It's my new best friend," Mirren is quoted as saying. I haven’t tried an exercise routine on Wii Fit at this point; however, my friend Sondra, who is 46 years old, has a Wii Fit and said she received a good workout. Here’s Sondra’s review of Wii Fit: “For me, our Wii is great ‘filler’ for days that I don’t go to boot camp or do some other outdoor workout, like a hike or bike ride. It’s definitely not my primary mode of exercise, but it’s great for a quick way to get your heart rate up indoors.”

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    But you don’t need to resort to technology to get a strong physique. Livestrong.com suggests that Mirren and other fit women benefit from a regular strength training routine. “Strength training provides the power to do essential cardio work, helps to prevent injury and keeps women independent longer. And the boost in metabolism from training is good for weight control,” the website states. Livestrong.com recommends that a routine include at least one exercise for each major muscle group and should focus on sequence and speed so that you do the most demanding moves early in the routine before you’re tired.

    Furthermore, you should consider selecting a weight that you can lift about eight times. “Work until you acquire the strength to lift it 12 times during the workout. Then increase the weight by 5 percent so you are back to 8 reps. This is progressive resistance and it’s the safe, sure way to build strength,” Livestrong.com recommends.  You should work out every other day so that your muscles can rest and repair. Furthermore, you need to figure out how to stay motivated. Livestrong.com suggests changing the pace, varying the exercise type and level of intensity, and trying some new exercise equipment.

    Doing exercises to developing a strong core is probably part of Mirren’s fitness regimen. Health.com recently offered a series of exercises aimed at improving the strength of this critical back and stomach muscles. These exercises, based on Kira Stoke’s Core Cuts class at the Reebok Sports Club/NY, include a standing oblique crunch, upside-down pendulum, Warrior III balance crunch, and squat sweep. Health.com recommends that you should plan on doing this routine three times a week as well as a 40-minute cardio workout four times a week.

  • Helen Mirren’s recognition is good news not only for her, but also for women who are going through menopause and who may be wondering whether it’s all downhill from here. Let's join her in making a commitment to fitness.

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Published On: August 02, 2011